Cowboys vs. Giants score, takeaways: CeeDee Lamb, Ezekiel Elliott key Dallas’ 2nd half rise on Thanksgiving

With or without Odell Beckham Jr. the Cowboys offensive is a force to be reckoned with. A week after scoring 40 points in Minnesota, Dallas scored touchdowns on three consecutive drives in the second half against the Giants on Thanksgiving. The Cowboys’ scoring led to a 28-20 win that took them to 8-3. The Giants fell to 7-4 after losing their second game in a row.

Trailing 13–7 at halftime, the Cowboys took the lead for good on Dak Prescott’s 15-yard touchdown pass to Dalton Schultz midway through the third quarter. The score capped off a 14-play, 75-yard drive in which the Cowboys forced their will in both the run and the pass.

Prescott and Schultz teamed up again moments later in the end zone after the Cowboys’ defense stopped the Giants on fourth-and-first on New York’s own 40-yard line. Daniel Jones, under pressure from Donovan Wilson, threw an off-target pass to Saquon Barkley that Barkley was unable to collect from behind.

The Cowboys delivered the final blow on their next drive when Peyton Hendershot scored on a jet sweep from six feet out. CeeDee Lamb made three impressive catches on the drive, including a one-hand grab play twice for Hendershot’s score.

The Giants briefly gave their fans a glimmer of hope when Richie James caught a short touchdown pass with eight seconds left. But the Cowboys quickly extinguished those hopes when Lamb got the onside kick back.

The Giants led at halftime thanks to two interceptions off Prescott. The second pick, courtesy of safety Julian Love, set up Graham Gano’s 47-yard field goal in the final play of the half. Barkley gave the Giants the lead on a one-yard touchdown run in less than six minutes in the second quarter.

Here’s a closer look at what’s in Dallas.

Why the Cowboys won

As they did in their Week 3 victory over the Giants, the Cowboys dominated on the ground. Elliott fumbled for 92 yards and a score on 16 carries. Pollard contributed with 60 yards as the Cowboys rushed as a team for 169 yards and two scores on 39 carries.

Prescott recovered after a lackluster first half. He went 11 of 14 for 145 yards and two touchdowns and no picks. Prescott, who has now won 10 straight games against the Giants, managed to get the ball to Lamb, who knocked down six passes for 106 yards. Prescott also had success getting the ball tight, Jake Ferguson and Schultz, who together caught seven passes for 88 yards.

Defensively, the Cowboys dominated possession. They held the Giants to 3 of 11 in third and 0 of 2 in fourth. As usual, the Cowboys enjoyed a great game from Micah Parsons, who had two sacks and two tackles for a loss.

Why the Giants lost

It was a rough night for the Giants offense, especially in the second half. Barkley only had 39 yards on 11 carries in the game. Slayton only had one catch for five yards in the second half. Jones threw for just 105 yards in the second half, and a good portion of those yards came as the Giants trailed by double digits.

Without much help from their offense, the Giants’ defense – playing without cornerbacks Adoree’ Jackson and Fabian Moreau – slumped in the second half. They couldn’t leave the field, as the Cowboys went 3rd down 7 of 11. New York also allowed touchdowns on each of Dallas’ trips inside the 20-yard line.

Turning point

It looked like a shootout would be in the works after the Cowboys scored on their first drive of the second half. The Giants quickly grabbed a first down on a short run from Barkley on their ensuing drive. But a sack two plays later by Parsons and a five-yard completion for Barkley put a fourth-and-1 on the Giants ’45.

The Giants, choosing to punt in a similar spot in the first half, decided to go for it. The play call looked good as Barkley was open in the flat. But Wilson’s pressure seemed to affect Jones’s accuracy as the ball was behind an open Barkley, who tried but was unable to reel in the pass. The Cowboys extended their lead seven plays later.

The Giants had only 10 men on the field in that decisive play.

Game of the game

Lamb’s one-handed catch was impressive for several reasons. Not only was it a great catch, it also came at a crucial time with the Cowboys looking to take a double-digit lead. It was one of many eyebrows raised by Lamb, who went over 100 receiving yards for the second time in three games.

A shout-out is also in order for Ferguson’s huge hurdle on the Cowboys’ final scoring run.

Citable

“Our defense can win a lot of games so we have to lean on them. Those guys played well tonight… allowed us to gain momentum. We just took over the game. That’s what we can do. Build on that second half and just kept growing.” –Prescott, to Fox’s Erin Andrews post-game when asked about his defense’s performance in the second half

What’s next

Dallas takes on the Colts in the Cowboys’ second of three consecutive home games. The Colts, who host the Steelers on Monday night, have split their last two games after hiring Jeff Saturday as an interim coach. Indianapolis played well on Saturday; they defeated the Raiders in Week 10 before being narrowly beaten by Philadelphia last Sunday.

The Giants will host Washington in their second of four consecutive games against NFC East division foes. After a 1-4 start, the Commanders are 6-5 after wins over the Texans and previously undefeated Eagles. Washington is 4-1 this season with Taylor Heinicke as the starting quarterback. The Commanders’ quarterbacks have enjoyed the continued excellence of Terry McLaurin, who has nearly 300 yards more than Washington’s second-leading receiver.

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